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Finding a niche

Brady’s 40” River Net features a folding handle and epoxy river design.

Brady’s 40” River Net features a folding handle and epoxy river design.

Josh Brady has combined his two passions – fishing and woodworking - into Brady’s Handmade Nets of Spartanburg, S.C. The former welder, with the help of his father Russel, started the business in 2015 after recreating a broken net.

“Having a little woodworking background that my dad did, we decided to use the broken one as a pattern. We took it down to the shop and made the handle pattern and rebuilt that net. From then on, we shared on Facebook and Instagram and it took off from there. One order led to another.”

Brady sells 12-15 nets a month.

“Our biggest customers are probably our local trout fisherman as well as northern steelhead fishermen. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, those areas have a big steelhead industry off the Great Lakes. Those are our biggest markets,” he says.

Brady offers eight models, starting at $125. There are hoop, handle, inlay and wood options.

“Our main four are walnut, maple, cherry and mahogany, but we do custom orders if somebody would like some other domestic wood or some exotic species. We’ll use burly and curly woods as well. We try to source whatever the [customer] is asking for.

 He also embellishes with woodburning.

 He also embellishes with woodburning.

“I would say the most difficult process is the joinery, making sure that the frame that you’re bending around matches the clamps that you’re using as tightly as possible to reduce the glue lines that show as a final product. We have four laminations in the hoop. That’s a lot of opportunity for big ugly glue lines.”

Brady also makes fly boxes and other items. Once hesitant about changing professions, the 32-year-old with two young children is grateful for what he has.

“I get to spend every day with my dad and my dog, and I can drop whatever I need to do to pick up my sons from school. I get to spend so much more time with my family than I ever did before working a regular job.”

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